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The 28th Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival Unveils 2018 Slate

Filmmaker Roberta Grossman to be Honored with WJFF Visionary Award

Washington’s largest Jewish cultural event runs May 2-13 and features the best in independent and international cinema

 

March 20, 2018, WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Washington Jewish Film Festival announced the program for the 28th annual event. The Festival, which runs from May 2-13 in venues throughout the Washington, DC area, includes 57 feature-length and 23 short films from 27 countries, and showcases the diversity of Jewish life around the world. Opening Night will be SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME, a biographical documentary on the famed entertainer featuring never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection. THE INVISIBLES, a tale of four young Jews who lived in hiding after the Nazis declared Berlin “free of Jews” in 1943, closes out the twelve-day event.

“With each Festival, we aim to celebrate, explore and deepen our understanding of the international Jewish experience,” said Ilya Tovbis, Director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. “The 2018 program also responds to the urgent call to action around issues of gender equality in the film industry and beyond. In the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the Washington Jewish Film Festival presents a slate of powerful films that champion female pioneers who broke through systemic and societal barriers. From a Supreme Court justice before the camera, to a legendary documentarian behind it, we are excited to showcase women paving the way to a more equitable society and more just future.”

Touching on an array of Jewish perspectives from multiple countries and cultures, this year’s Festival includes the thematic strand Starring Wonder Women, which showcases trailblazing women who smashed through glass ceilings. Returning from prior festival editions are the queer cinema program Rated LGBTQ and WJFF Classics, a presentation of repertory Jewish cinema featuring select new digital restorations.

This year, documentarian Roberta Grossman will be honored with the WJFF Visionary Award; clips from her upcoming film WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY will be previewed as part of the award ceremony. While at the festival, Grossman will give an extended discussion on the #MeToo movement following a screening of her 2018 film SEEING ALLRED; in addition, she will introduce a special 10th anniversary screening of her 2008 film HANNAH SENESH: BLESSED IS THE MATCH.

A program of the Edlavitch DCJCC, the Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) is the largest Jewish cultural event in the greater Washington, DC area. Films and programs will take place at AFI Silver Theatre, Bethesda Row Cinema, E Street Cinema, and the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the Edlavitch DCJCC.

A full festival schedule can be found at www.wjff.org. A list of titles and events is included below.

 

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

 

SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME

Director: Sam Pollard

2017, 100 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Sammy Davis, Jr.’s career was indisputably legendary; so vast and multi-faceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex and contradictory. Featuring interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kim Novak, and never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection, SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.  (DC Premiere)

 

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

 

THE INVISIBLES

Director: Claus Räfle

2017, 110 min, Narrative

Country: Germany

In June 1943, Germany infamously declared Berlin “judenfrei”—“free of Jews.” THE INVISIBLES tells the remarkable stories of some of the 7,000 Jews still living in Berlin at that time.  (DC Premiere)

 

WJFF VISIONARY AWARD PRESENTED TO ROBERTA GROSSMAN

 

ROBERTA GROSSMAN is an award-winning filmmaker, who has written, directed, and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. Grossman’s 2012 HAVA NAGILA (THE MOVIE) uses the song “Hava Nagila” as a portal into 150 years of Jewish history, culture and spirituality. HANNAH SENESH: BLESSED IS THE MATCH, Grossman’s 2008 film, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, aired on PBS, and nominated for a Primetime Emmy.

 

In 2014, Grossman completed ABOVE AND BEYOND with producer Nancy Spielberg, about the American-Jewish WWII pilots who volunteered to fight in Israel’s War of Independence.

 

Most recently, Grossman teamed with Sophie Sartain to co-direct the Netflix documentary SEEING ALLRED, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

 

She also produced DOROTHEA LANGE: GRAB A HUNK OF LIGHTNING, 500 NATIONS, and HOMELAND: FOUR PORTRAITS OF NATIVE ACTION.

 

The WJFF’s Annual Visionary Award recognizes creativity and insight in presenting the full diversity of the Jewish experience through moving image. The 2018 honoree is Roberta Grossman, who will join us for a special extended Q&A and Award ceremony. The award will be presented alongside a sneak peek showing of 30 minutes of clip excerpts from her forthcoming film, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY.

 

WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY

Director: Roberta Grossman

2018, Documentary

Country: United States

A 30 minute sneak preview of WJFF Visionary Awardee Roberta Grossman’s forthcoming documentary WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY which tells the story of the Oyneg Shabes Archive.  (Preview Clips)

 

SPOTLIGHT SELECTIONS

 

AN ACT OF DEFIANCE

Director: Jean van de Velde

2018, 123 min, Narrative

Country: Netherlands

In this riveting historical drama, 10 political activists— including Nelson Mandela and his inner circle of Black and Jewish supporters—are caught up in a raid by the apartheid South African government. Bram Fischer, a sympathetic lawyer, risks his career and freedom to defend these men.  (DC Premiere)

 

THE CAKEMAKER

Director: Ofir Raul Graizer

2017, 105 min, Narrative

Countries: Germany/Israel

After his Israeli lover dies, German baker Tomas travels to Jerusalem and finds work with his lover’s widow, but keeps his identity a secret. Both mourning the same man, they stave off loneliness by finding common cause in the kitchen, but suspicions, jealousies, and cultural differences threaten their fragile friendship.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Rated LGBTQ strand

 

DRIVER

Director: Yehonatan Indursky

2018, 90 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

From the creator of SHTISEL, and the producers of THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER and THE WOMEN’S BALCONY, comes an intimate exploration of lives at the fringes of Bnei Brak’s ultra-Orthodox community.  (North American Premiere)

 

LONGING

Director: Savi Gabizon

2017, 104 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

In this achingly funny and bittersweet tragicomedy, Ariel’s life is thrown into disarray when he learns he has been a father for nearly two decades. Nominated for 13 Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film.

 

A MEMOIR OF WAR

Director: Emmanuel Finkiel

2017, 127 min, Narrative

Countries: Belgium/France

Emmanuel Finkiel’s adaptation of seminal author Marguerite Duras’s autobiographical novel (The War: A Memoir) centers on an intensely powerful performance by Mélanie Thierry as Duras. Both she and her husband, the writer Robert Antelme, were members of the Resistance living in Nazi-occupied Paris.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

SHELTER

Director: Eran Riklis

2018, 93 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Naomi (Neta Riskin, NORMAN) is a Mossad agent sent to Germany to protect Mona (Golshifteh Farahani, PATERSON), a Lebanese informant, in Eran Riklis’ (LEMON TREE) international espionage thriller.  (DC Premiere)

 

THE TESTAMENT

Director: Amichai Greenberg

2017, 96 min, Narrative

Countries: Austria/Israel

Holocaust researcher Yoel’s legal battle over a WWII massacre of Jews in Austria gets increasingly personal when he discovers a secret testimony tape recorded by his mother.  (DC Premiere)

 

MAIN SLATE

 

BACK TO BERLIN

Director: Catherine Lurie

2018, 76 min, Documentary

Countries: Bulgaria/Czech Republic/Germany/Greece/Hungary/Israel/Poland/Romania/Slovakia

An epic journey that marries biker-flick and Holocaust documentary. 11 modern-day Israeli bikers trace the path of original 1930s riders who carried the Maccabiah torch from Tel Aviv to Berlin.  (World Premiere)

 

BACK TO THE FATHERLAND

Directors: Kat Rohrer, Gil Levanon

2017, 77 min, Documentary

Countries: Austria/Germany/Israel

Gil and Kat have been friends for over a decade. Gil is from Israel, Kat from Austria; Gil is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Kat the granddaughter of a Nazi officer. This deeply human and ultimately revealing film tackles the challenges and opportunities for reconciliation and understanding between the third generation on both sides of the Shoah.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

BUDAPEST NOIR

Director: Éva Gárdos

2017, 94 min, Narrative

Country: Hungary

In the politically fraught autumn of 1936, Zsigmond Gordon probes the murder of a young prostitute, uncovers Budapest’s seedy underbelly, and discovers clues leading him to the highest echelons of power.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

CLOSENESS

Director: Kantemir Balagov

2017, 118 min, Narrative

Country: Russia

In this controversial Cannes award-winner set in the small Russian town of Nalchik, a Jewish family’s ties fray when son David and his fiancé Lea are kidnapped. First-time director Kantemir Balagov harkens back to the Russia of his youth—one shaped by the Chechen wars.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

THE COUSIN

Director: Tzahi Grad

2017, 92 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Naftali, an open-minded Israeli, begins to question his liberal convictions when the Palestinian day laborer he hires is accused of a heinous crime against a local teenage girl.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS: A HAVEN IN HAVANA

Directors: Judy Kreith, Robin Truesdale

2017, 45 min, Documentary

Country: United States

A story of survival, cross-cultural exchange, and an oft-overlooked haven for 6,000 Jewish refugees during WWII–including hundreds of gem cutters who briefly turned Cuba into a diamond-polishing center.  (DC Premiere)

 

THE DEAD NATION

Director: Radu Jude

2017, 83 min, Documentary

Country: Romania

Radu Jude (AFERIM!, SCARRED HEARTS) investigates the roots of the Romanian Holocaust through a Jewish doctor’s diary, stills from a rural photo studio, and chilling patriotic anthems.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

DON’T FORGET ME

Director: Ram Nehari

2017, 87 min, Narrative

Countries: France/Germany/Israel

A black comedy that pulls from the sensibilities of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, but hits hard, in offering an unflinching and earnest look at characters struggling with mental illness.  (North American Premiere)

 

THE DYBBUK (New Restoration)

Director: Michael Waszyński

1937, 123 min, Narrative

Country: Poland

A tale of star-crossed lovers and supernatural possession that is considered one of the most influential Jewish films of all time.

Featured in the WJFF Classics strand

 

GI JEWS: JEWISH AMERICANS IN WORLD WAR II

Director: Lisa Ades

2018, 87 min, Documentary

Country: United States

The stories of 550,000 Jewish men and women–both famous and unknown–who served in WWII and fought against fascism while struggling for equality at home.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

HANNAH SENESH: BLESSED IS THE MATCH

Director: Roberta Grossman

2008, 86 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Narrated by Academy Award®-winner Joan Allen, this stirring documentary follows the journey of Hungarian poet, paratrooper, and resistance fighter Hannah Senesh.

Featured in the WJFF Classics strand

 

HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL

Directors: Seth Kramer, Jeremy Newberger, Daniel A. Miller

2018, 91 min, Documentary

Countries: Israel/Japan/South Korea/United States

An underdog Israeli national baseball team that qualifies, for the first time ever, for the World Baseball Classic.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

THE HERO

Director: Menno Meyjes

2016, 95 min, Narrative

Country: Netherlands

Sara Silverstein’s reunion with her family in the Netherlands is marred by a series of anti-Semitic violent assaults, which reveal a dark family secret.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

THE IMPURE

Director: Daniel Najenson

2017, 69 min, Documentary

Countries: Argentina/Israel

In the early 20th century, thousands of Jewish women were brought to Argentina brothels by Jewish pimps. Both the unfortunate women and their keepers were dubbed “the impure.”  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

IN HER FOOTSTEPS

Director: Rana Abu-Fraiha

2017, 70 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

After 10 years of dealing with breast cancer, Rana’s mother’s only wish is to be buried in Omer–a town she fled to from her Bedouin village long ago.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

ISRAEL: STORIES OF MODERN DAYS

Directors: William Karel, Blanche Finger

2017, 53 min, Documentary

Country: France

Ten renowned Israeli writers shine a spotlight on Israel at 70. Their work echoes the issues their country faces: the conflict, the weight of the past, the Zionist project, religion, the army, and social tensions.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

KISHON

Director: Eliav Lilti

2017, 87 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

Ephraim Kishon was one of the great writers who shaped the Israeli essence through his work. At the age of 70, he invited college journalist Yaron London to assist him in unfolding his life story.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

THE LAST SUIT

Director: Pablo Solarz

2017, 92 min, Narrative

Countries: Argentina/Spain

Now in a retirement home, Holocaust survivor Abraham isn’t about to fade away quietly. Instead he sets off across the world on one last mission: to find the man who years earlier saved him from certain death.  (DC Premiere)

 

THE LAST SUPPER

Director: Florian Frerichs

2018, 83 min, Narrative

Country: Germany

On the day Hitler assumes power, an affluent German-Jewish family comes together for dinner. The politics of the moment and their individual sympathies nearly tear them apart.  (World Premiere)

 

THE LEGEND OF KING SOLOMON

Director: Albert Hanan Kaminski

2017, 80 min, Narrative

Countries: Hungary/Israel

An animated family adaptation of the Biblical story of a young King Solomon who teams up with Princess Naama and the Queen of Sheba to end Asmodeus’ tyrannical drive for power.  (North American Premiere)

 

LET ME HEAR THY VOICE

Director: Mili Ben Hay

2017, 48 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

After generations of silence, more and more women dare to give their own musical interpretation to ancient Jewish texts—a territory previously known only to men.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

LIBYA: THE LAST EXODUS

Director: Ruggero Gabbai

2018, 65 min, Documentary

Country: Italy

From Italian colonization, through foreign domination, and delicate cohabitation with the Arab population, follow the lives of Libya’s Jews who lived in the country for centuries until the violent riots of 1967.  (North American Premiere)

 

LIFE IS RICH

Director: Bonnie Rich

2018, 46 min, Documentary

Country: United States

A real-life comedy about Bonnie Rich, a filmmaker and Jewish mom on a mission—to persuade her millennial daughters to raise her unborn grandchildren Jewish.  (World Premiere)

 

THE MAESTRO: IN SEARCH OF THE LAST MUSIC

Director: Alexandre Valenti

2016, 74 min, Documentary

Countries: France/Italy

For more than 30 years, one man has single-handedly taken on a unique challenge: tracking down, archiving, and performing all the pieces of music written and composed in WWII camps.  (DC Premiere)

 

MAKTUB

Director: Oded Raz

2017, 105 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon, the acclaimed writers and stars behind Israeli TV mega-hits SCARRED, ASFUR, and MA BAKARISH, play partners in crime in this hilarious, politically incorrect caper.  (DC Premiere)

 

MOE BERG: ALL STAR ESPIONAGE?

Director: Aviva Kempner

2018, 60 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Aviva Kempner presents a sneak peek at her latest documentary profiling a little known Jewish hero: enigmatic baseball player, Morris “Moe” Berg.  (Work-in-Progress)

 

MR. AND MRS. ADELMAN

Director: Nicolas Bedos

2017, 120 min, Narrative

Country: France

A quintessentially French couple, totally consumed by one another, tangle through four decades of music, haircuts, and a romance that’s more shattered glass and Camus than chocolate and flowers.  (DC Premiere)

 

THE MUSEUM

Director: Ran Tal

2017, 65 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

A striking and refreshingly lively (even spunky) account of the Israel Museum, which explores the country’s soul through the galleries, storerooms, and visitors of Israel’s most important cultural institution.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

MY DEAR CHILDREN

Directors: LeeAnn Dance, Cliff Hackel

2018, 70 min, Documentary

Country: United States

The pogroms that followed on the heels of the Russian Revolution killed tens of thousands of Jews. Feiga Shamis, a Jewish mother of 12, wrote about those years in a rare first-hand account.  (East Coast Premiere)

 

THE NEW BLACK (SHABABNIKS)

Directors: Eliran Malka, Daniel Paran

2018, 85 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Join us for the U.S. Premiere of the latest hit Israeli TV comedy, which centers on four misfit Haredi students studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. Part SRUGIM and part ENTOURAGE–and all pure fun.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

OUTDOORS

Director: Asaf Saban

2018, 80 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

An Ingmar Bergman-worthy tale of a couple whose relationship frays as their dream home is built around them. Equally grounded in realism and allegory, OUTDOORS is an unmistakable accomplishment.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

THE PROMISED BAND

Director: Jen Heck

2016, 89 min, Documentary

Country: United States

A fake rock band comprised of Israeli and Palestinian women decide that–despite their limited artistic ability–a music group offers them a useful cover under which to meet and interact.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

RBG

Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen

2018, 97 min, Documentary

Country: United States

An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

REMEMBER BAGHDAD

Director: Fiona Murphy

2017, 69 min, Documentary

Country: United Kingdom

An untold story of Iraq that looks at how the country developed through the eyes of the Jews–Iraq’s first wave of refugees–who lived peacefully in the area for 2,600 years.  (DC Premiere)

 

SAVING NETA

Director: Nir Bergman

2016, 90 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Nir Bergman (BROKEN WINGS) returns with his grandest and most evocative tableau to date–a richly imagined ode to femininity, parenthood, and human connection.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Rated LGBTQ strand

 

SCAFFOLDING

Director: Matan Yair

2017, 90 min, Narrative

Countries: Israel/Poland

While his demanding father prepares him to take over the family scaffolding business, Asher finds a role model in Rami, a teacher whose class assignments inspire him to forge a new identity.  (DC Premiere)

 

SEEING ALLRED

Directors: Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman

2018, 96 min, Documentary

Country: United States

In this intimate, warts-and-all documentary, one thing is certain: Gloria Allred’s 40-year devotion to asserting, protecting, and expanding the rights of women is unwavering and her influence unassailable.  (Special Screening)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

SHALOM BOLLYWOOD: THE UNTOLD STORY OF INDIAN CINEMA

Director: Danny Ben-Moshe

2017, 100 min, Documentary

Countries: Australia/India

A celebration of the all-singing, all-dancing history of the world’s largest film industry, SHALOM BOLLYWOOD reveals the unlikely story of Jewish women’s formative role in shaping Indian cinema.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

SHREE 420

Director: Raj Kapoor

1955, 177 min, Narrative

Country: India

A masterpiece of 1950s Bombay cinema featuring an evocative performance by Nadira (Farhat Ezekiel), where she plays the vamp–chasing men, drinking, and gambling, in a case of life imitating art.

Featured in the WJFF Classics strand

 

SPIRAL

Director: Laura Fairrie

2017, 79 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Anti-Semitism is on the rise throughout Europe. Director Laura Fairrie presents an alarming look at the impact of this reign of hatred on the lives of ordinary people.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

STANDING UP

Director: Jonathan Miller

2017, 74 min, Documentary

Country: United States

STANDING UP captures the devastating lows and exhilarating highs of three stand-up comedians: an ultra-Orthodox Jew, a couch-surfing custodian, and an Egyptian lawyer.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

THE STARRY SKY ABOVE ME

Director: Ilan Klipper

2017, 76 min, Narrative

Country: France

Laurent Poitrenaux delivers a tour-de-force performance as the neurotic and wounded Bruno in this charmingly odd film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.  (East Coast Premiere)

 

THE STRANGEST STRANGER

Director: Magnus Bärtås

2017, 73 min, Documentary

Countries: Japan/Sweden

In Haruki Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore, a mysterious man appears, calling himself Johnnie Walker. Is he modeled on Joni Waka, a Jewish man living in Tokyo, or is it the other way around? (North American Premiere)

Featured in the Rated LGBTQ strand

 

TEVYE’S DAUGHTERS

Director: Vladimir Lert

2017, 120 min, Narrative

Country: Ukraine

Filmed on the actual locations which inspired Sholem Aleichem’s famous folk tale, this uproariously funny and buoyant cinematic sendup centers on a downtrodden milkman.  (Mid-Atlantic Premiere)

 

THE THIRD PLACE

Director: Nejemye Tenenbaum

2017, 88 min, Documentary

Country: Mexico

A hundred years after the establishment of the Syrian-Jewish community in Mexico City, its history is commemorated through a number of compelling and touching stories. The journey depicts the evolution, achievements, and struggles of a minority group that grapples with integrating to the country that welcomed them, or preserving their religious-ethnic identity.  (U.S. Premiere)

 

TOUCHING THE SKY

Directors: Ilanit Bauman, Enav Shenhar, Idan Shavit, Tamar Tal-Anti

2018, 65 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

Female Israeli soldiers have had the right to apply to flight school for over 20 years, but only a few have earned their wings. Here we follow their trials over the first six months of the program.  (World Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

TRACKING EDITH

Director: Peter Stephan Jungk

2016, 91 min, Documentary

Countries: Austria/Germany/Russia

This spellbinding documentary reflects on the remarkable life of Edith Tudor-Hart, who was an influential photographer working in Britain during the 1930s, and who also happened to be a KGB spy.  (DC Premiere)

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

 

THE TWO OF US (New Restoration)

Director: Claude Berri

1967, 86 min, Narrative

Country: France

When an 8-year-old Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied France is sent by his parents to live in the countryside, he is faced with a culture clash both religious and generational.

Featured in the WJFF Classics strand

 

SHORT FILMS

 

BLOCK 13

Director: Ofir Peretz

2017, 25 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

It’s the eve of Yom Kippur. The streets lie in sacred silence, but David, a religious Jewish boy, is in turmoil. On the holiest night of the year, he sets out on a journey to restore his waning faith in God.

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program

 

COMPARTMENTS

Director: Daniella Koffler

2017, 15 min, Documentary

Country: Israel

Netta wishes to immigrate to Berlin. Her father, the son of Holocaust survivors, is horrified by her decision to live in the land that killed her ancestors. He refuses to speak to her again if she leaves.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

THE DRIVER IS RED

Director: Randall Christopher

2017, 15 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Set in Argentina 1960, this true crime documentary follows the story of secret agent Zvi Aharoni as he hunted down one of the highest ranking Nazi war criminals on the run.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

ERUV

Director: Aaron Rotenberg

2017, 6 min, Documentary

Country: Canada

This short film study revists the halachic idea of eruv as an opportunity to re-vision urban space through the practice of urban place-making.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

I’M FROM THE JEWS

Director: Niv Hachlili

2017, 18 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

A young man becomes possessed by his dead grandfather, forcing him to choose between his Arab family identity and continuing on with his life as an Israeli.

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

LARGE SOLDIER

Director: Noa Gusakov

2017, 23 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

It’s 1973 and all that 15 year-old Sherry wants is a boyfriend. A letter exchange with an unknown soldier sends her heart aflutter, but what happens when the imaginary becomes real?

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

LON

Director: Nina Landau

2017, 7 min, Documentary

Country: Belgium

LON is an ode to the power of imagination and how people maintain their dignity in the most challenging of times.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

NANA

Director: Ali Kellner

2017, 5 min, Documentary

Country: Canada

After being taken from her home in Budapest during World War II as a young girl, Vera Reiner survives alongside thousands of other Jewish women. This is their incredible story.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

NIGGUN

Director: Yoni Salmon

2017, 12 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

After a long journey, many years in the future, our cosmonauts reach their destination. Ananda, the space archaeologist, hopes to prove that the Earth is real, and Yamaka, the outcast rabbi, is searching for something subtler.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

NOTHING HAPPENS

Directors: Michelle Kranot, Uri Kranot

2017, 12 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

It’s bitterly cold in the inner city neighborhoods, and yet people have come together. They have come to witness an event. To participate in a spectacle. To see and be seen.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

ONE FOR THE ROAD

Director: Fernanda Faya

2016, 12 min, Documentary

Country: United States

Fernanda Faya reflects on her grandmother’s migration from Romania, after moving herself from Brazil to New York, in this personal and evocative cine-poem.

Screening with feature film CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS: A HAVEN IN HAVANA

 

ONE MORE EXPERIMENT

Director: Sergey Vlasov

2017, 15 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

In the near future, when human actors have been replaced by CGI, an aging actor gets one last chance to deliver a monologue from Andrei Tarkovsky’s THE STALKER.

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program

 

OPEN YOUR EYES

Director: Ilay Mevorah

2017, 14 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Ilana considers herself a liberal woman, but when her eye therapist is replaced by an Arab doctor, her prejudices comes to light.

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

REBEL

Director: Oran Zegman

2017, 17 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

In Tel Aviv’s Greek community of the 1950s, Rebecca’s decision to divorce her abusive husband forces her to pay the ultimate price for freedom.

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program

 

SAY WHAT!: A GERIATRIC PROPOSAL

Director: Aaron Weistein

2017, 6 min, Documentary

Country: United States

At a post-concert reception, a young jazz musician tries to survive aggressive grannies and other terrifying creatures.

Screening as part of the DRAWING BORDERS shorts program

 

SHMAMA

Director: Miki Polonski

2017, 20 min, Narrative

Country: Israel

Leah works as a maid in the hotel during the day, while Meital, her daughter, sings in the hotel’s lobby at night. They live trapped in their relationship, surrounded by the Dead Sea.

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program

 

STITCHERS: TAPESTRY OF SPIRIT

Director: Tassie Notar

2017, 15 min, Documentary

Country: Canada

An inspiring journey behind one woman’s ambitious project to create the entire Torah, in needlepoint.

Screening with feature film LET ME HEAR THY VOICE

 

SUMMER

Director: Pearl Gluck

2018, 19 min, Narrative

Country: United States

Two teenage girls in Hasidic sleepaway camp explore a forbidden book which leads them to a sexual awakening neither of them are prepared to encounter.

Featured in the Rated LGBTQ strand

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

SUNSET

Directors: Katie Ennis, Gary Jaffe

2017, 15 min, Narrative

Country: United States

In the days following Pearl Harbor, a young man must decide whether to serve overseas or stay in New York with his streetwise male lover.

Featured in the Rated LGBTQ strand

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

THE TRANSFER

Director: Michael Grudsky

2017, 22 min, Narrative

Countries: Germany/Israel

Three young Israeli soldiers and the Arab prisoner in their custody are forced to confront their prejudices when their transport vehicle breaks down in the Negev Desert.

Screening as part of the ASSUMED IDENTITY shorts program

 

UNDER THE BAR

Director: Craig Schattner

2017, 6 min, Documentary

Country: United States

To the Orthodox Jewish women at Woodmere Fitness Club, life is more than child rearing and keeping kosher–it’s about proving themselves through weight lifting.

Screening with feature film LIFE IS RICH

 

WENDY’S SHABBAT

Director: Rachel Myers

2017, 10 min, Documentary

Country: United States

A joyful group of senior citizens capture the spirit of Shabbat in their own unique way, gathering at a fast food restaurant to light candles and say prayers over hamburgers and fries.

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program.

 

WOMAN WITH AN EDITING BENCH

Director: Karen Pearlman

2016, 15 min, Narrative

Country: Australia

Inspired by a true story, WOMAN WITH AN EDITING BENCH pays homage to Elizaveta Svilova–the unsung editor behind Dziga Vertov’s 1929 documentary masterpiece MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA.

Featured in the Starring Wonder Women strand

Screening as part of the OUT WITH THE OLD shorts program.

 

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

TICKET AND PASS INFORMATION

Festival passes are currently on sale online. Individual ticket sales open online on Friday, March 23, and continue through the festival. Patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance as many shows sell out. Individual tickets for regular screenings are $13.50 online, $15 at the theater. Individual tickets for spotlight evenings are $20 online, $25 at the theater. Individual tickets for Opening and Closing Night events are $30 online, $35 at the theater. In addition to individual tickets, WJFF offers Festival passes for $175 and All-Access VIP Passes for $275. Festival passes for patrons 30 years of age or younger are available for $40. More information is available at www.wjff.org.

 

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

The Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) is the centerpiece of the Edlavitch DCJCC’s comprehensive year-round film program. One of the largest and most respected Jewish film festivals in North America, WJFF is an international exhibition of cinema that celebrates the diversity of Jewish history, culture and experience through the moving image.

In addition to the annual festival, the WJFF presents an ongoing, year-round film series at the Edlavitch DCJCC. The WJFF serves over 18,000 people annually through 100+ screenings, nearly all of which are World, U.S., or regional premieres.

Follow the Washington Jewish Film Festival on Twitter (@wjff) for updates with the latest information about the festival and filmmakers who will participate in the WJFF. Join the conversation using #wjff on social media.

 

ABOUT THE EDLAVITCH DCJCC

The Edlavitch DCJCC – the vibrant home and cultural heart of Jewish Washington – works to preserve and strengthen Jewish identity, tradition and values through a wide variety of social, cultural, recreational and educational programs and services. The EDCJCC is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

The EDCJCC embraces inclusion in all its programs and activities. We welcome and encourage the participation of all people, regardless of their background, sexual orientation, abilities, or religion, including interfaith couples and families.

The Edlavitch DCJCC is located at 1529 Sixteenth Street, NW in Washington, DC, 4 blocks east of Dupont Circle.

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